Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues and there was a crippled woman there. Jesus said to her "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity. Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God." The religious leaders were indignant that Jesus would heal someone on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders had so many rules for what you could not do on the Sabbath that they were missing an amazing opportunity to see a miracle. The leaders must have thought that healing was considered work and you were not allowed to do you job on the Sabbath. The religious leaders told the people to come and get healed on the other six days, not on the Sabbath. Jesus replied "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?" The leaders took care of their animals and yet they could not rejoice when this woman was healed from something she had for 18 years.
v. 18-20 Then Jesus said "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches. It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough." The people were thinking Jesus would come and fight Rome to free all God's people, but Jesus made it clear that was not the case. Mustard seeds are tiny. Jesus was saying that the Kingdom would start out quietly and what would appear to be insignificant at the time. Also, the yeast that gets kneaded into the dough. A small amount of yeast gets forced into the dough with time and pressure and that yeast will double the size of the bread. The Kingdom would eventually start to grow outward and spread all over the world.
v. 22-30 Jesus was heading towards Jerusalem. Someone asked "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door to us.' But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.' They will say 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.' There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last." Jesus was heading towards His death and He still preached. No matter what we face we are to stay steadfast and follow God. To enter through the narrow gate takes a desire to know Jesus and we have to follow Him no matter the cost. We should not put off getting to know Him. The door will not stay open forever. One of the saddest things in the entire bible to me is when Jesus says "I never knew you." Do not profess to others that you are a follower, but are deceptive and evil on the inside. Many people know things about God, but who will acknowledge their sins and accept forgiveness? I think that when we get to Heaven it will be a big surprise at who is there and who isn't. God's kingdom will include people from all around the world. Israel's rejection of Jesus as the Messiah was not going to stop God from His plan. I believe that Israel is not just the Jews who believe in Jesus (there are many), but all who follow Him. I also believe that the Jewish people have a special place in God's heart and I look at them as my brothers and sisters. I have heard people say that the Jews are irrelevant because of Christianity, beware in that thinking which will lead you down a prideful road. Can you imagine some of the worst people in history being in heaven or some of the most respected preachers not being there? Some of the world's forgotten people are great in the eyes of God. How do your values compare to what the bible says to value?
v. 31-35 Some of the Pharisees told Jesus to leave since Herod wanted to kill Him. Jesus told them that He would continue to drive out demons and heal people and the third day He would reach His goal. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look your house is left to you desolate." The Pharisees were not concerned for Jesus' safety, they were trying to trap Him themselves. Jerusalem had rejected many prophets and would reject the greatest one of all.